Guest Columns

CHANDLER: I'VE GOT AN INDEPENDENT STREAK NOW

A little blue about leaving the Green Party

I’m not writing here a lofty essay explaining some deep, consequential philosophical divergence from the Green Party of Colorado.

For those captivated by politics, it is probably rather seldom that a person experiences a major ideological crisis and leaves their party. Partings, I suspect, usually happen for much more mundane reasons.

In my case, I still find attractive and persuasive the ideas and goals of the Green Party’s ‘Ten Key Values.’ I am also very committed to the belief that the current political and governmental structures in this country have been irredeemably corrupted by corporate and other special interest money. I, therefore, still believe that it may take an effective and dedicated third party — with strong adherence to rejecting ‘big money’ — to reform and re-democratize our Republic.

However, as has been the case with many third parties in the past in the United States, finding the resources and tenacity to continue fighting the “two party system” is very difficult and discouraging most of the time.

Without an overarching great issue, like the Iraq war debate in 2002, a third party tends to lose the volunteer energy that allows it to grow or even to survive.

That is what has happened, in my analysis, to both the Green Party of the United States and the Green Party of Colorado (GPCO). Without the urgency of the war and peace issue, these organizations seemed to have lost their direction. In Colorado, the core group of activists has shrunk to about fifteen individuals, and local chapters continue to drift away.

As often occurs in groups or clubs in decline, in-fighting and turf battles actually increase as the pressure and strain to find a way to survive intensifies. This is what is going on right now in the Green Party of Colorado.

Recently, after the resignation of a party co-chair (an office I had previously held), I returned on an interim basis to that position to try and help the organization get itself together for the 2010 election. After nearly nine years as an active member of the GPCO, I didn’t want to admit either that perhaps its race has been run. But, indeed, disarray and disinterest have become the environment in which this group now exists ... barely.

So, I have decided that it is time to move on to other venues to express my political opinions and indulge my political activism. No great ideological schism here, but a pragmatic realization that there are other, better ways to make a difference. Thus, as I was before I became a Green, I am again an ‘unaffiliated’ voter.

Let me state that most of my time with the Green Party has been an uplifting experience and I have met many wonderful, kind, patriotic people during my involvement ... I cherish those folks greatly.

And, I want to reaffirm that I am still extremely proud of my 2002 Green Party candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives in Congressional District 7. With both the Republican and Democrat candidates for that office voicing support for the then pending Iraq War Resolution, I believed then and I believe now, that it is especially critical that citizens have a genuine “peace candidate” alternative when the stakes are as high as war and peace. As we have subsequently discovered, I was correct — we were deceived and lied to about the necessity for that war which took thousands and thousands of American and Iraqi lives.

Perhaps soon there will be a third political force in the country that will battle to honestly bring much needed reform and progressive change to our governmental institutions. If that happens, I’ll be on board.

In the mean time, I am now part of that persuadable cohort of ‘independents’ who decide elections — have at me!

Dave Chandler is now an independent after having been associated with the Green Party of Colorado for the last decade.